Cinemas in the UK get The Amazing Spider-Man the same date American movie theaters do (July 3), but film critics across the pond have gotten the jump on us as far as the first reviews go. Not that it matters if British (and other) reviewers build the initial buzz on this comic book adaptation. I don't see their reactions being too different from our own. And anyway, it's nice that they get to deliver the first praises on one export, Andrew Garfield (as Spider-Man/Peter Parker), as well as the first notes of disappointment with their other, Rhys Ifans (The Lizard/Curt Connors).
The consensus is that (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb nicely adapts his handle on romantic comedy to the superhero genre, though he doesn't appear to deliver a whole lot of great action or satisfying fight sequences to balance the high school movie elements and very strong chemistry between Garfield and Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy). But the issues people have with the villains, including both The Lizard and Denis Leary as Stacy's police captain father, sound like lesser problems in a reboot that many are claiming is a worthwhile and surprisingly fresh take.
As usual, I've tried to not only offer another of many aggregated samplings of reviews but a discussion-formatted roundup that provides a complete sense of how critics, both professional and amateur, are responding to the movie. Hopefully it helps you make up your mind about seeing what otherwise merely looks like a rehash of Sam Raimi's previous Spider-Man movies. Especially if you were curious if this installment would make for a good double-feature with Magic Mike, as Robbie Collin makes it sound.
What are people saying about The Amazing Spider-Man? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet:
An exciting adventure that spins together a great cast and amazing special effects. It doesn’t repeat too much of what we’ve seen before, but adds enough of its own to make it distinguishable and memorable. - Patrick Samuel, Static Mass Emporium
Entering the theatre absolutely sure that another retelling of the origin of Spider-Man was not needed, I gladly ate my words along with my popcorn as this was easily the best way that this story has ever been told [...] I'd go so far as to call it the best superhero origin film this side of Iron Man. - Richard Eisenbeis, Kotaku
It's clear that Webb is more interested in the story's human dimensions [...] the palpable rapport of Garfield and the ever-affable Stone in the pic's home stretch wows far more than the climactic webslinging antics. - Boyd Van Hoij, Variety
As such the web-slinging exploits are often a sideshow, the action boiling down to little more than a series of skirmishes between Spidey and The Lizard. [...] there’s something not quite right with a movie whose grace notes are stronger than its plot points, and whose flashes of soaring brilliance can never quite compensate for its frequent crushing superfluity. - Paul Greenwood, Alone in the Dark
It takes the high school bit of Raimi’s flick, expands it to three acts, then sutures in a scientist/green alter-ego thread [...] The Amazing Spider-Man is a rare comic-book flick that is better at examining relationships than superheroism. - Ian Freer, Empire
The scenes between Garfield and Stone have a witty and realistic edge to them that’s rare for a comic book romance.
Such moments, combined with Peter’s eternal quest for the father he never knew, help carry the narrative through the mandatory denouement of fights, chases, mutant transformations and a rather lengthy final showdown set - Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
It's the successul synthesis of the two – action and emotion – that means this Spider-Man is as enjoyable as it is impressive: Webb's control of mood and texture is near faultless as his film switches from teenage sulks to exhilarating airborne pyrotechnics. - Andrew Pulver, The Guardian
Webb gives the Spider-Man story a distinctly light touch: even when Spider-Man and The Lizard are smashing their way through a school, he allows us momentarily to view the scene from the perspective of an oblivious, elderly librarian wearing headphones. We’re never far from romance or laughs, and at times ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ feels like a romcom upgraded to include 3D and industrial cobwebs. - Dave Calhoun, Time Out London
Webb has created the first superhero movie aimed primarily at women. [...] On paper Gwen might be the love interest, but in many ways she’s the main character, giving us a human perspective on the superhuman drama.[...] Raimi’s films were for the teenage boys who used to dress up in Spider-Man pyjamas; Webb’s is for girls whose other halves may soon be dressing up in Spider-Man pyjamas for their benefit.
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